Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Katz Chasing the Robins

Today's story in the New York tabloids: Robin Katz, a 25-year-old investment advisor at Chase Bank, now stands accused of tapping a client's private account to the` tune of $110 K through the medium of a duplicate ATM card, which was found on her person upon her arrest.

The New York Post story is here, (Front Page in print edition), an AP apparatchik's version is here, and Newsday's take is here.

My commentary, in no particular order:

1. Robin's MySpace self-description reportedly is "rocket scientist by day, party fool by night." If indeed she were a rocket scientist, she would have filched the money by some means less tracable than an ATM card. ATM machines commonly are monitored with video surveillance, which only corroborates the electronic money trail.

2. The New York Post, being the sensationalist tabloid it is, now presents Robin as a sexual commodity. All else being equal, this would bother me. All else is not equal, however, because Robin herself apparently accentuates her own sexual aspects on her public pages such as MySpace and Facebook. Which wouldn't be quite so bad if she were not facing criminal trial. She is definitely NOT a sympathy-evoking defendant.

3. Robin apparently left New York in May for a purported family emergency in California, yet the ATM withdrawals persisted from June 2008 through June 2009. If Robin really were apprehensive about being caught, maybe she should have ceased and desisted.

4. According to the Newsday story, "A [Chase] spokesman declined comment Tuesday, refusing to say whether Katz was still employed there, or how long she had worked for the company." I am not a public relations expert, but would think that if Robin no longer worked at Chase, then Chase should be most anxious to have the world know that fact. Methinks that some sort of employer-employee relationship persisted at least until Robin's arrest. This makes Chase look like a even more of a smacked toochas, at a time when the entire banking industry already has poop smeared all over its face. Moreover, the unnamed Chase customer was probably signed on with JP Morgan Chase Private Banking services. Not good for the bank's public image or public confidence!

5. Robin exhibits many hallmarks of a spoiled trust fund kid. Smith College, family in California, working in the banking industry, rich and riotous lifestyle, et cetera.

6. Once the Madoff case broke, Rocket Scientist Robin should have recognized it as a signal that society's patience for financial crimes is being sorely tested. She should have ceased and desisted immediately. What caused her to continue? Was it just plain arrogance, or was there some sort of substance abuse and dependency lurking in the background? How much of that money got sucked up her nose?

7. There will be tax consequences for Robin if she failed to report her filched income on her tax returns. My advice to Robin: File an Amended 2008 return NOW; that way you MAYBE can avoid at least some of the penalties.

8. As the father of a college student, and as one who interfaces with the business world, I cannot help but be concerned about my son's Internet persona. There are consequences for what one does or does not post on their Facebook or MySpace pages, and, if truth be told, my wife and I have had occasion to deliver an admonishment to our son in that regard (not terribly serious, but not totally with our zone of confort). Robin's case will, if anything, heighten public awareness regarding Facebook and MySpace and similar cyberscrapbooks. And if I were advising an employer (or, rather, when I advise employers, for one of my clients has been talking about launching a business venture that will require paid help over and above his wife, daughter and mother-in-law), I would have them take a look at Facebook and MySpace, et cetera, when checking out prospective employees. What you do on your own time is your private business -- until you make your private business public.

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